February is Black History Month.  We at Middlesex Public Library are committed to providing a safe and inclusionary space for everyone regardless of race, color, orientation or religion.  We believe that diversity of materials and programming is important throughout the entire year, not just in February, but in February, as part of Black History Month, we want to highlight some books about the many wonderful contributions the Black community has made in American society.

The books below are just some of the books in our collection that highlight the contributions of Black Americans as well as the experience of Black America.  These lists are in no way exhaustive of what we have in our collection.  If you are looking for a particular book, please speak to our reference staff.

Books in Our Adult Collection

Four Hundred Souls : A Community History of African America, 1619 ~ 2019 by Ibram X. Kendi 

A “choral history” of African Americans covering 400 years of history in the voices of 80 writers. 

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

After Cora, a slave in pre-Civil War Georgia, escapes with another slave, Caesar, they seek the help of the Underground Railroad as they flee from state to state and try to evade a slave catcher, Ridgeway, who is determined to return them to the South.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

“Newlyweds Celestial and Roy, the living embodiment of the New South, are settling into the routine of their life together when Roy is sent to prison for a crime he didn’t commit. An insightful look into the lives of people who are bound and separated byforces beyond their control”

My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr by Coretta Scott King

Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s wife speaks candidly about her life with the Civil Rights activist.

How to Be An Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi

Antiracism has the power to be a transformative concept that changes the conversation around racism and shows us a new way of thinking.

Books in Our Young Adult Collection

Stamped : Racism, Antiracism and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

A history of the roots of racism in America presented for a young adult audience. 

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

A teenage Black boy in a private school seeks to live one year as he believes Martin Luther King, Jr. would.

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas

After witnessing her friend’s death at the hands of a police officer, Starr Carter’s life is complicated when the police and a local drug lord try to intimidate her in an effort to learn what happened the night Kahlil died.

Books in Our Juvenile Collection

Little Leaders : Bold Women in Black History by Harrison Vashti

Features female figures of black history, including abolitionist Sojourner Truth, pilot Bessie Coleman, chemist Alice Ball, politician Shirley Chisholm, mathematician Katherine Johnson, poet Maya Angelou, and filmmaker Julie Dash.

Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine

A fictionalized account of how in 1849 a Virginia slave, Henry “Box” Brown, escapes to freedom by shipping himself in a wooden crate from Richmond to Philadelphia.

Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi

Illustrations and rhyming text present nine steps Antiracist Baby can take to improve equity, such as opening our eyes to all skin colors and celebrating all our differences.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Movies in Our Collection

Green Book

An Italian American from the Bronx is hired to drive world-class pianist Don Shirley on a tour of the Deep South. 

The Hate U Give

Film adaptation of the novel by Angie Thomas about a young Black girl who witnesses her friend’s death at the hands of a police officer.

Hidden Figures

As the United States raced against Russia to put a man in space, NASA found untapped talent in a group of African-American female mathematicians that served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in U.S. history. Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Johnson crossed all gender, race, and professional lines while their brilliance and desire to dream big, beyond anything ever accomplished before by the human race, firmly cemented them in U.S. history as true American heroes.


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